Critical Jobs for an E5 in the Army

by Tom Streissguth

The Army sergeant who holds E5 rank has direct oversight of enlisted personnel in their training and operations. The rank demands a high degree of personal authority and competence; as a non-commissioned officer, the E5 needs total mastery of military rules and procedures to command respect.

Training and Drills

A sergeant commands a squad of four to ten soldiers -- a unit that makes up part of a larger platoon and company. The sergeant is responsible for issuing orders to the squad and seeing that they are carried out. One critical job requirement is training squad members in the use and maintenance of their weapons. Sergeants also command soldiers in physical training and drills, and oversee their performance in training exercises.

Uniform Standards

Army sergeants carry out daily inspections of uniforms, equipment and quarters. The sergeant is responsible for pointing out any violation of army regulations on appearance and cleanliness. If a soldier is missing a uniform component, or has it out of place, the sergeant addresses the issue and enforces the rules. The sergeant has recourse to disciplinary action if the violation calls for it.

Combat Operations

Sergeants give instructions on combat missions, beginning with a pre-combat check of all personnel under command. This is a check of all weapons and equipment to ensure they are in working order; the sergeant is tasked with making corrections on the spot, and ordering soldiers to bring their equipment up to combat standards. In the field the sergeant controls the movements and actions of squad members, in accordance with the platoon's combat orders.


An E5 sergeant takes orders and direction from higher-ranking staff sergeants and first sergeants. The E5 relays instructions from his superiors to the unit he commands, and has a voice in the action of the company as a whole. The sergeant facilitates communication between the various squads that make up a platoon, and relays vital information from the enlisted soldiers under command to superiors when the need arises.

About the Author

Founder/president of the innovative reference publisher The Archive LLC, Tom Streissguth has been a self-employed business owner, independent bookseller and freelance author in the school/library market. Holding a bachelor's degree from Yale, Streissguth has published more than 100 works of history, biography, current affairs and geography for young readers.

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